Government set to streamline private health policies

If you’ve ever been confounded by your health insurance policy or have avoided getting health insurance because companies make it ‘all too hard’ the Federal Government is looking to change that. A report in The Australian says the Coalition is looking to introduce simplified gold, silver and bronze categories this year in order to help you find a better deal.

It hopes to make the changes before private health insurance premiums rise in April.

Heath minister Sussan Ley had previously suggested the three tier categories as a means of assisting you in getting better value for money from insurance providers, while also maintaining support for the private health insurance sector because of its ability to remove pressure from the public hospitals.

At a meeting of the private health ministerial advisory committee it was agreed that “any solution to improve the design of private health insurance will require the development of standard definitions and terminology for medical procedures across all insurers to enable consumers to compare policies more easily”.

It was also identified that one of the biggest issues with private health insurance policies is the lack of transparency in relation to out-of-pocket expenses and gap fees.

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There are more than 40,000 private health insurance policy variations available, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has expressed repeated concern over just how complicated the industry is.

The number of Australians with private health insurance cover is less than half of the population (46.8 per cent), while those who are covered have reported how they have been forced to scale back because of the increasing costs.

What do you think of the Government’s plan to streamline private health insurance policies? Do you have private health insurance — why or why not?